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November 7, 2017

The nature of the spirit realm is a mystery to many. However, when you understand that God has used the same principles of physics in the natural realm and the spiritual realm, these mysteries begin to make a lot more sense. I have outlined some of these principles in my work An Overview of Body, Soul and Spirit. Recently, God gave us a dramatic visual of the principle of attraction and reaction as it relates to the spirit realm. This visual, once again, underscored for us just how dangerous and subtle the ‘self’ nature is.

One day, last week, God gave to Wanda a warning dream. We did not understand the dream at the time, and so missed the valuable warning that He was trying to give to us. A storm was about to blow into our world and God was going to use that to teach us a valuable lesson about ‘self’. Too often we receive warnings from God, but do not interpret them in time to prevent what is about to happen. I have found that in those cases, God is trying to teach us a lesson and He will give an interpretation of the dream only after it is over; this belated revelation is so that you know He orchestrated it.

For us the lesson started at the motel where the management unwisely decided to put two groups of about 20 young people in the rooms on each side of our room. We are used to people coming and going at all hours of the day and night here, so it was of little concern to us at first; but at night it became a more difficult issue. These young people may have come to town for a certain purpose, but at night they were dedicated to engaging in as much ‘self’ as they possibly could. We found them drinking and smoking; sitting on chairs just outside our door at 1:30 AM talking loudly and with no regard for anyone else in the motel. Management was called and they dispersed, for a time. The noise got loud again at 2:30 AM and right up until 4:00 AM. Needless to say it was very stressful, tiring and frustrating to deal with these young people who had not a shred of concern for anything but their own pleasure. When they left, the rooms looked like an orgy of drunken debauchery had occurred; and the maid spent until 8:30 PM the next night cleaning them.

Now the point of this blog entry is not to find fault with these young people, but to illustrate a principle of ‘self’ that we had to experience and understand for ourselves. The primary lesson Wanda and I learned was how the ‘self’ nature or anti-spirit, as a spiritual force, gives out a smell, force or attraction in the spirit realm. The demons in this realm smell this smell or feel this force and are then attracted to it in much the same way flies are attracted to rotting and putrid flesh. When enough ‘self’ is present, as was manifest in this group of people, the mass of anti-spirit increases. This mass attracts more anti-spirit and demons and with greater mass the attraction increases just as the mass of an object in space can attract and hold in its gravitational pull a smaller object. This principle is true in nature as well as in the spirit. The greater the mass, the greater the attraction. If the ‘self’ mass in a person and group of people increases, the more demons they will attract. Likewise, the more demons ‘self’ or anti-spirit attracts, the more of the Spirit it will repel. We encountered this with this group of young people. When they engaged their ‘self’ nature, more and more debauched behavior became the norm and thus encouraged more ‘self’.

I wish I could say that our response to this debacle unfolding, not 10 feet from our bed, was a wonderful expression of the love, patience and mercy of God; but it wasn’t. Not even close. We failed because we had not completely learned another very key lesson about ‘self’ or anti-spirit; that is the reactive force that occurs when ‘self’ is expressed. This principle, at first, seems to be diametrically opposed to the principle of attraction that I just wrote about, but it isn’t. You see ‘self’ or anti-spirit, by its very nature, attracts demons which feed off of it; but often ‘self’ finds itself in a pitched battle with others also expressing their ‘self’.

‘Self’, at it’s very core, is all about singleness and being alone. The reason for this is that it comes from satan who rejected relationship with God in a vain attempt to become God in his own right. The devil is a poster child for singleness just as God is the picture of marriage. So when one exercises the ‘self’ nature, they are really declaring themselves to be god; doing whatever they choose to do in the pursuit of pleasure etc. regardless of the consequence or how it might affect others. This inevitably will cause a reaction by others around them. The best example I have ever seen of this is a battle described in Scripture. In 2 Chronicles 20:1-29 we read a curious passage about King Jehoshaphat and a battle he had with the people of Ammon, Moab and the people of Mt. Seir or Edom. In this battle, King Jehoshaphat and the people were told to do nothing but praise God. “While they did so the enemy that was against them rose up and killed each other. And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir who had come against Judah, and they were [self-] slaughtered; For [suspecting betrayal] the men of Ammon and Moab rose against those of Mount Seir, utterly destroying them. And when they had made an end of the men of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another.” 1 Chronicles 20:22,23. This is the classic reaction of ‘self’ to ‘self’ and it was, unfortunately, the reaction that we had to the young people that had swarmed around our room. Instead of praying and invoking the Lord’s wisdom to deal with this intrusion into our peaceable world, we reacted in kind to these young people.

If we had any illusions that the problems left when the young people did, we were sadly mistaken. Unfortunately for us, our expression of ‘self’ in anger at the young people left us vulnerable to the demons that were swirling around looking for another opening to exploit. They found one. In me. I am ashamed and horrified that I allowed the expression of ‘self’ a day or so earlier to be expressed once again; but this time at Wanda. I hurt her terribly with a harsh unforgiving tone that caused her great emotional pain. For 24 hours the pain was acute in her; but then we had to deal with it. It was humbling to have to express that I was indeed very wrong in expressing myself as I did; and I needed to repent before my bride. Fortunately, God was interested in helping us restore our relationship. He healed us and then taught us about the horrific nature of ‘self’ and how it attracts demons and causes a reactive response instead of a proactive response. We talked it out, forgave and learned a great deal about what had happened.

The crux of what we learned was that satan and the demons are very attracted to any expression of ‘self’ or anti-spirit. Demons will linger in an area long after the people have gone. This means that it is best to avoid areas where large groups of people gather and ‘self’ is given vast expression. It also means we need to be on our guard in the Spirit; continually in prayer with Jesus so we can be aware of and counter the plans of the enemy to exploit ‘self’ in us.

The second valuable lesson we learned was that the reactive nature of ‘self’ is a really good indicator of anti-spirit still left in us. Whenever we feel our anger rising over what is taking place around us, we need to check in with the Holy Spirit to make sure it is not our ‘self’ reacting. I know that in the heat of the moment, this is not always easy to do; which is why the wilderness is so necessary for training. By going through the wilderness, we are faced with our own ‘self’ so we can recognize what it looks like in us. We then can discern when it may be rising up in reaction to others. Once we can recognize ‘self’ and the ‘reaction’, then it does get easier to nullify ‘self’ when it rears its ugly head.

Finally, we can never say we are perfect or try to live under the delusion that we have attained some idealized level of perfection. No, it is better for us to say that we have the ‘self’ nature still lying dormant within us and still react through ‘self’ from time to time; but we have learned to humble ourselves, admit when we are wrong and deal with our ‘self’ nature repeatedly. This is because maintaining a peaceful heart is more important to us than anything else. Christ will not dwell within a heart filled with turmoil. After owning our failure, we can then work towards forgiveness, reconciliation and growth. This model is far healthier and more realistic than trying to pretend we have somehow reached some idealized level of perfection that we do not own, and never will this side of heaven. We will always have ‘self’ to some degree while in this mortal body, no matter how bitter the wilderness; but now we have the tools to effectively neuter it during conflict when ‘self’ wishes to react with more ‘self’. This is the way of faith that will continually bless the Godhead and lead us into greater depths of maturity.